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Shopping mall owners defy fire safety

Published : 09 Apr 2023 12:30 AM | Updated : 09 Apr 2023 12:30 AM

Most of the shopping malls and other commercial buildings in the city have been built over the years

defying official regulations, as a result, safety issues, particularly in regard to fire, is largely ignored.

Among the shopping malls and markets of the capital 635 shopping malls and markets in the capital are

at risk of fire. During the 2022 inspection report of the fire service, out of 635 establishments, 136

establishments are at high risk.

Despite this alarming report, due to the negligence of the market/shop owners, such an untoward

situation is taking place.

Based on the report of Fire Service and Civil Defence Directorate, this reporter visited a few markets in

the capital’s Gulisthan Area including Rajdhani Super Market, Kaptan Bazar Complex, Sundarban Square

Market, PirYamini Market yesterday. The visits revealed that most of those establishments do not

comply with the fire security guidelines having sufficient fire fightingequipments.

Faulty electricity connections, minimum fire-fighting equipment, dilapidated buildings and others have

made most of those markets prone to fire hazards.

On the issue of fire safety in super malls and small markets urban planner Professor Adil Muhammad

Khan said, “If effective steps are not taken now, the situation may become worse in the coming days. It

is a must to ensure proper fire extinguishing system in the construction of multi-storied market-

shopping mall. Effective measures in this regard should be taken quickly without wasting time.”

Most markets and shopping malls in the capital belong to two city corporations. An official of Dhaka

South City Corporation mentioned that the market owner association and shopkeepers are being

warned regularly. An official of Dhaka North City Corporation said several notices are being served

regularly to remind the mall and market owners to comply with the fire security but they rarely respond.

There are 2,223 buildings across the country, including shopping malls, markets, industrial factories,

which have not followed fire service rules. Among them, 1,606 buildings are risky and 617 buildings are

extremely dangerous.

Director General of Fire Service and Civil Defence (FSCD) Brig Gen Mohammad Moin Uddin urged the

market association and shop owners to take immediate measures to avoid such untoward situation. He

said, “Being a concerned person, every person of a market knows what is lacking there. I would request

them to take effective steps about firefighting measures and stay aware.”

Bangladesh Shop Owners Association President MdHelal Uddin after visiting the recent fire incident

area said that all kinds of cooperation to reduce the risk of fire in the market-shopping mall will betaken.

In the last years a total of 1475 fire incidents took place in shopping malls and markets in the country, of

them 589 fire incidents took place 2022 in the country.